Sunday, November 17th 2013

Holly school board votes to reopen Sherman Middle School next year

Written by Amy Mayhew   
Wednesday, November 13 2013

Sherman Middle School

HOLLY, Michigan – Holly’s sixth, seventh and eighth grade students will be headed back to Sherman Middle School next year after members of the Board of Education voted unanimously to reopen the school they closed in 2011.

The matter was discussed during the Nov. 11 Holly Area Schools board meeting.

Since 2011, seventh and eighth graders have been attending classes at Holly Middle School on the Karl Richter Campus, 920 Baird St. in the village, while sixth grade students filled empty classrooms located in Holly’s four elementary schools.

During the Oct. 28 board meeting, Superintendent Dave Nuss told board members if the district expands its early childhood programs, he believes enrollment can increase and at least sustain itself, estimating an increase of 42 students or more, or approximately $294,000 in additional student revenue.

Expansion of the early childhood programs, Nuss said, would mean reopening Sherman Middle School to make more room at the elementary school level.

With the state doling out $3,553 per student in early childhood support, and by expanding HAS’ early childhood programs for 2014-15, Nuss anticipates increasing early childhood enrollment from 112 to 176 students for an additional $227,392 in student revenue. “The foundation of our proposal or recommendation is that we expand our feeder program that involves early childhood and develop a well-articulated program for the early-on program,” Nuss said during the Oct. 28 meeting.

By recruiting more students at the early childhood program level, Nuss believes the district will be better able to retain the students over the long haul.

“Elementary, middle and high school – those families have already chosen schools for those students,” he said. “Some may return to the Holly Area School district for many good reasons, but it’s hard to make the move if their friends are made, and relationships are gained – I believe that the real future lies in getting those kids into our programs earlier to meet our wonderful teachers and to see what we have to offer, then they’ll stay.”

After having two weeks to consider Nuss’ proposal, board members revisited the matter on Nov. 11 before voting on it.

Robin Carne

“After listening to what the administration has presented and analyzing and taking time to see what that would do for the district, I’m very much in favor of going with (Nuss' recommendation)," Board Member Robin Carne said. "But I would like to also add an addendum on there that the district and the community as a whole needs to know – and I would covet their support – for the decision that we make,” she added. “Because it may not be as easy as it appears on paper, and there may be hard times yet to come, but at least we’re proposing to open up the building, and giving our students and our district the opportunity to shine.”

Board President Tony Mayhew agreed. “We’re in a different position than we were three years ago where now the elementary schools are full, and we’re working on building the feeder program, as we call it,” he said. “We’re not reversing the decision we made to close Sherman Middle School, we’re adjusting our plan to support the proposed increase in enrollment.”

“We’ve just adopted a whole different way of delivering some of our programs to the community,” Trustee Leon Sharpe said. “And we need the space.”

In a vote of 6-0, the board approved Nuss’ recommendation to reopen Sherman Middle School in the fall of 2014. Vice President Sue Julian was excused from the meeting.

Tentatively, the administration plans to complete the moving project review with contractors by mid-December, and hopes to organize, advertise and hold an auction by the end of January. Cleaning and prep-work at SMS is planned to occur through mid-May, with moving of furniture, supplies and equipment slated for completion in mid to late July of next year.

In light of the fact that there will be some vacant real estate at the Karl Richter Campus (KRC), on Tuesaday night, village officials gave Village Manager Jerry Walker the green light to begin discussions with the Holly Area School administration on possibly relocating the village offices to KRC next year.

Walker told council members that he envisions transforming KRC into a Community Center, possibly utilizing certain attributes of the building for community events.

Village Manager, Jerry Walker

“I think really at this point the concept is very simple – the school has space available,” he said. Walker said renovations have begun on 504 ½ Maple Street, but that if a deal was struck with the school district, work could be “buttoned up,” and the building could be used for storage in the interim.

“I think this is a good opportunity for us to engage in some detailed discussions with the school district, see if there is something feasible that can be worked out to benefit the village and to benefit the schools, but most of all to benefit the community,” Walker said, adding that the building offered “a lot of opportunity” with its gymnasium, auditorium, library, and a large meeting center that could be used by the community.

Walker is expected to get with Nuss and HAS Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services, Steve Lenar in the near future, and makea recommendation to the council no later than Jan. 14, 2014


#1 Steve 2013-11-13 22:23
It would be great to see that campus open and full of students. The facility is too nice to leave "dark and cold."
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